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IP Roundup: May 24, 2011


Simon Fraser University of Burnaby, Calif., has received US Patent No. 7,947,443, "DNA and RNA conformational switches as sensitive electronic sensors of analytes." Sensors are described that permit electrical conduction through a first double-helical stem only in the presence of a bound analyte. In one design, the current flows through the analyte receptor itself. In the second, the current flows in a path adjacent to the receptor. The former design may be suitable for certain categories of analytes, including heterocycle-containing compounds such as adenosine, while the latter design could be applicable to the detection of any molecular analyte, such as the protein thrombin, the inventors state in the patent. The sensors may be used in automated chip-based detection of small molecules as well as of proteins and other macromolecules, they claim.

Gamida for Life of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, has received US Patent No. 7,947,486, "Self-addressable self-assembling microelectronic systems and devices for molecular biological analysis and diagnostics." A platform containing a cell selector, a nucleic acid selector, and an array of microlocations having associated capture sequences is provided. According to the patent, the cell selector is contacted with a cell sample, where a portion of the cells remain associated with the cell selector. At least a portion of cells associated with the cell selector are lysed to release a nucleic acid sample. The nucleic acid selector is then contacted with the nucleic acid sample, in such a way that a portion of the nucleic acid sample remains associated with the nucleic acid selector. The associated nucleic acid sample is then released from the nucleic acid selector and then is contacted with the array of microlocations, in such a way that at least a portion of the released nucleic acid sample hybridizes with the capture sequence.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has received US Patent No. 7,947,487, "Multifunctional encoded particles for high-throughput analysis." A method for making multifunctional particles is claimed. It includes flowing a first monomer stream along a microfluidic channel; flowing a second monomer stream loaded with at least one probe along the microfluidic channel; and polymerizing the first and second monomer streams to synthesize particles having a graphically encoded region and a probe-loaded region. According to the patent, the polymerizing step includes exposing the monomer streams to light transmitted through a photomask in such a way that the particle shape is defined in at least one dimension by the shape of the illuminating light.

The University of Colorado of Denver has received US Patent No. 7,947,510, "Methods and devices for detecting nucleic acid hybridization." A method of detecting hybridization of a probe nucleic acid and a sample nucleic acid is described. The method includes contacting a sample nucleic acid with a cationic surfactant-nucleic acid interfacial layer, where the cationic surfactant-nucleic acid interfacial layer is made up of a cationic surfactant and a probe nucleic acid, and is present at the interface of a liquid crystal and a polar solvent. The sample nucleic acid is then allowed to hybridize to the probe nucleic acid, reorienting the liquid crystal, and the hybridization is subsequently detected.

Life Technologies of Carlsbad, Calif., has received US Patent No. 7,948,015, "Methods and apparatus for measuring analytes using large scale FET arrays." Large-scale field-effect transistor arrays for measuring analytes are claimed. According to the patent, the arrays can be manufactured using conventional complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor processing techniques based on improved FET pixel and array designs that increase measurement accuracy, and facilitate small pixel sizes and dense arrays. Such arrays may be employed to detect a presence and concentration changes of various analyte types in a wide variety of chemical and biological processes, according to the patent.

The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute of Daejeon, Korea, has received US Patent No. 7,948,564, "Programmable mask and method of fabricating biomolecule array using the same." A programmable mask used in a photolithography process for fabricating a microarray and a method of fabricating a biomolecule array using the mask are claimed. According to the patent, the programmable mask is capable of increasing the contrast ratio of transmittance versus shielding of light incident to a liquid crystal. Each pixel is constituted by irradiating parallel ultraviolet light generated from an external parallel light exposure device to a certain cell.

Aperio Technologies of Vista, Calif., has received US Patent No. 7,949,168, "Data management in a linear-array-based microscope slide scanner." Methods for processing, storing, and viewing extremely large imagery data produced by a linear-array-based microscope slide scanner are provided. According to the patent, the described system receives, processes, and stores imagery data produced by the linear scanner as a series of overlapping image stripes and combines the data into a seamless and contiguous baseline image. The baseline image is logically mapped into a number of regions that are individually addressed to facilitate viewing and manipulation of the baseline image. The system enables dynamic imagery data compression while scanning and capturing new image stripes. This eliminates the overhead associated with storing uncompressed image stripes, the inventors claim in the patent.

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.